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Margrethe Vestager. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Margrethe Vestager. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Big tech’s smart devices may need EU rules if antitrust probes cannot tackle “systemic” problems on how they may gather data and lock in users, EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager warned.

Regulators have concerns about the so-called internet of things after wrapping up a sweeping antitrust inquiry into voice assistants such as Amazon.com’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, she said at a speech in Prague on Monday. An EU report highlighted potential issues with how devices work together, how they gather data and how companies’ practices may keep users within their own product range.

“If we see that things are systemic, this is not enough to find it and fine it and punish it one place when it’s everywhere, then of course, we need to do more. We need to call upon regulation,” Vestager said.

EU antitrust probes of Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, and Alphabet unit Google are “quite advanced”, Vestager said. They are still at an earlier stage compared to other investigations into Apple and Amazon, she said.

The EU is in the final stages of discussing wide new rules to curb big tech power, that could also hit voice assistants.

“The goal of the Digital Markets Act is really simple: keep markets open, contestable for every business out there. And the way to do it is to stop gatekeepers from misusing that enormous power,” she said.

Bloomberg

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